De­sign de­ci­sions

The Weekend Post - Real Estate - - Front Page - Andrew Win­ter

AAr­chi­tects, like Michael Martino from MMP Ar­chi­tects in Cairns, are de­sign and tech­ni­cal ex­perts. RCHITECT or drafts­man? Should you go to the ex­pense of hir­ing an ar­chi­tect or whether the more affordable op­tion of a drafts­man is suf­fi­cient to add value when build­ing or ex­tend­ing your home.

From a cost point of view, a pro­fes­sional ar­chi­tect is go­ing to cost more. And if they have a trendy rep­u­ta­tion you can add more to the bill, just be­cause their name is associated with it.

But does that mean that for us mere mor­tals we can only con­sider the ar­chi­tect op­tion af­ter we’ve won the lotto?

It re­ally is not as sim­ple as that; an ar­chi­tect is more money, but do you get more ben­e­fit? You can try and cash in on that trendy name at sale time and ask a higher price.

On the other hand, they say you save when you use a drafts­man ser­vice. A good drafts­man is more than ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing not only the de­sign but all the tech­ni­cal draw­ings you need for coun­cil and plan­ning ap­provals and will pro­vide the most amaz­ing 3D and walk-through im­ages of your new build pro­ject. Do note that the more high tech your draw­ings, they more they bill too.

There are pros and cons in a de­ci­sion to use ei­ther pro­fes­sion. So at the risk of of­fend­ing both, here is what I be­lieve they are: The ar­chi­tect The pros: Ar­chi­tec­ture is a pro­fes­sion that com­bines de­sign and tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise. Ar­chi­tects are paid to be cre­ative, so they should come up with outof-the-box ways to solve prob­lems. An ar­chi­tect is able to fully pro­ject man­age the build and has the po­ten­tial to add value, not just by as­so­ci­a­tion, but by a stun­ning de­sign. Ar­chi­tects tend to have knowl­edge of new and ex­cit­ing build­ing prod­ucts and ma­te­ri­als, which means your new home can be more efficient, beau­ti­ful or both, than oth­ers on the mar­ket.

The cons: Be­ing a spe­cialised pro­fes­sion, ar­chi­tects charge ac­cord­ingly. Oc­ca­sion­ally clients feel their ar­chi­tect is ex­press­ing too much cre­ative vi­sion which is out of line with their needs. The drafts­man The pros: They’re spe­cial­ists at pro­vid­ing all the draw­ings and plans you need for tradies, plan­ning and coun­cil re­quire­ments. They’re a cost-ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tive who have the tech­ni­cal knowl­edge to trans­late your plans into work­able draw­ings. A drafts­man will lis­ten to your re­quire­ments and only ques­tion items that will not work phys­i­cally or com­ply with re­lated build­ing leg­is­la­tion and they are usu­ally a quicker al­ter­na­tive.

The cons: A drafts­man is not paid to be cre­ative. He or she will de­sign as per your con­cepts – they won’t tell you whether or not it will look good. As a re­sult there is al­ways a risk of aes­thetic mis­takes and this can some­times mean the full value of your pro­ject is not re­alised.


Con­sid­er­ing the pros and cons of both is im­por­tant when you con­sider your next pro­ject, but you should also take your per­sonal cir­cum­stances into ac­count. The sim­ple rule is that for small, or ba­sic projects, go with a drafts­man. But for a top-end scheme, con­sider an ar­chi­tect. How­ever, if you re­ally have no de­sign abil­ity, or are wor­ried and have no clear ideas, use an ar­chi­tect – the added cost is likely to be re­couped at sale time.

So now, con­fes­sion time. Who did I use? Hav­ing re­cently built our new fam­ily home, I have to con­fess, we used a drafts­man. But that’s be­cause I had done my own full set of scaled draw­ings and we worked to­gether per­fectly. How­ever, when I con­sider just how many hours I spent sketch­ing, throw­ing away and start­ing again – did I re­ally save any money – who knows?

* Andrew Win­ter is a real es­tate con­sumer cham­pion and the host of Sell­ing Houses Aus­tralia on the Life­style Chan­nel.

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